Falling into Winter

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Evidence of autumn, lightly concealed by last week’s snow and this morning’s dusting…  

On an early walk today with two compadres, we stopped by this familiar three-tier waterfall.  Surrounding trees still exhibited the oranges of Fall.

Orange reflection onto blue… one of my favorite complementary color medleys.  Falling into winter…

The new Lightroom CC? Let’s just say I’m evaluating Luminar 2018

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I was excited by the promise of a new, faster, cloud optimized, and device independent Adobe Lightroom CC.  And though many decried the loss of some features, I was actually enticed by the streamlined interface.  Their inclusion set was pretty close to my own workflow.  And though I don’t love the notion of a subscription based service, now I could more easily justify the concept because it included 1 terabyte of cloud storage.  All my images available everywhere and via a consistent, even browser-based, interface?  Yeah, I’m in.

Unfortunately, my experience was not a good one.  You are allowed a one-time conversion of your library structure from Classic CC to CC.  Part way through, I got an error message saying the conversion could not proceed.  When I exited away from the error message, I found I was subsequently informed that I had one shot at it and that that one shot was in the rearview.  I consulted the internet and found several suggested workarounds.  None worked.

So, I decided to essentially start anew.  All my organizational structure was lost but I was game for a re-do.  So, I re-did.  The photos made it across, albeit without any organization.  Still though, I figured I could recover from the aggrevation.  I was wrong.

I found the reliability to be sub-par.  Often, my workspace would go dark.  No images to be found.  Logging off from my Creative Cloud subscription and then logging back in seemed to do the trick.  But what an annoyance.  Also, fairly frequently, a double click on an image to render it larger than the thumbnail view resulted in a black screen.  Nothing there.  Finally, on a few occasions, the program crashed.  In summary: it’s rushed to market, not ready for prime time, bush league.  Sorry Adobe, but that’s what this is.

Enter Luminar 2018, the non-subscription program that works as an extension (and standalone) from Apple Photos.  Digital asset management capabilities are coming next year.  The image above was processed with this filter-centric and very full featured image editing program.  And so far so good.  I’ll be using this exclusively (Lightroom fully removed from my hard drive) and will keep you posted.

“So much wasted time”

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I remember fondly those Friday evenings in the 1970s when my family would huddle around the color tv console in our family room to watch our favorite show, “The Partridge Family”.  We knew it wasn’t a real family, we knew only Keith and his mom were actually singing and that everyone else was lip-syncing and pretending to play instruments – often quite badly, and we knew that the humor was corny and predictable.  We knew all that… but we suspended belief, turned up the volume and tapped our toes to songs like: “I Think I love You”, “Doesn’t Somebody Want to be Wanted” and “I Can Feel Your Heartbeat”.  And oh, that infectiously catchy theme song: “Hello world, hear the song that we’re singin’.  C’mon get happy!”

I was saddened to learn of David Cassidy’s declining health and death recently.  And I heard that his daughter, Katie, revealed last week that his very last words were: “So much wasted time.”  How sad.  How sad that David’s final words, and his final thought in this life… was that he had wasted much of it.

I wonder what my final thought will be when my time comes?  Will it be full of regret too?  Will I think about all the time I wasted?

In today’s gospel (Mark 13:33-37), which helps us move officially into the Advent season, Jesus tells a story about waiting.  About making sure you are ready for the time when the master returns.  You do not want to be caught sleeping at that time.

I used to think that the point of the story was about avoiding the crisis of being unprepared.  That the tragedy was that the master would be angry and that you would be left behind.  In the case of salvation, it would be our opportunity lost.  But I’m seeing it differently now: it’s about being ready, prepared… not for the bad thing you will avoid but for all that you gain.  This includes salvation downstream for sure.  But it also includes a better life here and now.  A life filled with relationship with Christ, of service, of faith and hope and love… and of total and complete surrender to the one who calls us back to him… is a better life.  It is one filled with what we all want most of all: purpose and meaning.

I think about parents who learn over time that it is in the best interests of their children to let them make their own decisions, to loosen the reins and to allow them to experience life, to make mistakes even, and to be given the opportunity to fully decide for themselves.  This is a letting go.  It is done out of love, not the opposite.  It’s hard, but as parents we need to give our children some space.  This is free will.  This is what God the Father does for us, his children.

So what will it be in the end?  Will we be ready?  Will we said we did our best?  Will we feel as though we made the right decision?

Or… will we say that there was… so much wasted time?

We consider this in Advent.  We should… choose wisely.

Lucas II

If the cord on one side could snap, so too could the one on the other.  And now it was taking twice the weight.  Where is Grant?  What is happening up there?  

These thoughts flooded Lucas’ mind as he clung to the railing.  “Think clearly, think clearly”, he offered under his breath.  Then he remembered the safety cable and the harness he had fitted onto himself before stepping into the box.  He had been doing that for seventeen years and so now it was all too automatic.  He knew he was connected to the box.  Still though, he clung on with his one ungloved hand, shaking, grasping for life, flesh onto metal.

If the cable doesn’t go, he could be here for hours.  No problem, right?  Cold, sure.  But he wouldn’t plummet to his end.  The harness would assure that.  Grant would wake up or someone would check in and find out what was happening.  Surely, someone would see the bucket dangling on the side of the apartment tower.  Surely, someone would notice the tools and pails that must have crashed onto the ground below.  Surely, someone would be coming.  Surely

But the damn cold.  He felt the wind cutting his face, the frost of his breath created a mist in front of him and onto the glass window.

Just two weeks short of turning 35, Lucas wondered if this was it.  Thirty-five short years.  His old man was nearly twice that age and living in Fort Lauderdale, probably getting ready to head out to shoot 18 as his only son now dangled by the side of a glass and chrome structure.  Lucas imagined a glass and chrome tombstone, a grave marker leaving the only legacy of thirty-five unremarkable and largely wasted years.

He remembered applying for the window washer job.  It was going to be for just as long as he needed to get a jump start.  His father had told him to go to college or join the army, neither of which tempted him much.  No, he was going to live a life of adventure, travel, find his way out there in the big world.  “I’m living an adventure now”, he said aloud as he clung to living, hand bonding to frozen metal.  This might have been funny in any other circumstance, but there was no one there to enjoy it now.

The adventure he sought was never meant to be lived alone.  He always saw someone special sharing in it.  I’ll bring my kids along with us.  They will…

… just then he looked up and through the misted window.  Staring back at him was a young girl, mouth ajar… holding a coloring book in one hand and crayon in the other.  This was something she hadn’t quite encountered before.